Not Your Average Guide: Experience Dubai as a Local


Dubai is rising as the new hip place for travelers to visit. The exotic food, it’s burgeoning nightlife, and mixture of ancient historical landmarks with the bustle of the big city are all garnering increased attention in the travel world. I say all this is great. I’ve visited Dubai in the past and have thought it doesn’t get enough attention. It’s about time this vivacious jewel of the desert gets some recognition.

Dubai’s main tourist attractions could keep any visitor busy for weeks and are certainly worth checking out. However, whenever I visit a new city, I like to experience the hidden gems that most tourists miss. I prefer to immerse myself in the culture and experience a place as the locals do. That’s the best way to truly gain a deeper understanding and respect for any destination. So, let me show you the hidden gems of Dubai that you won’t find in any guidebooks. Let’s step into the shoes of a local and become a part of Dubai’s culture and people, if only for a short while.

Culture and History


via: amiraphotography
  • Dubai Museum – housed in 19th century Al Fahidi fort, explores Dubai’s history, culture, and traditions.
  • Hindu Temple (referred to locally as Shiva and Krishna Mandir) – the only Hindu Temple in Dubai.
  • Jumeirah Mosque – Tip: especially beautiful when lit up against the evening sky.
  • Fishtail bike rides – takes you through historical backstreets of Jameirah, the Burj Al Arab, and the sandy white beaches.
  • Juma Al majid Heritage Centre – little known library and research center.
  • Sheikh Saeed House – restored home of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum and Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, houses collection of rare items and documents that record Dubai’s history.



via: dialaflight
  • Horse riding – ride along the beaches and sand dunes of Dubai – Dubai City Stables, Al Dhabi Stables.
  • Al Sahra Resort for camel riding – camel excursions among the desert dunes.
  • Hatta mountain trek – picturesque cool mountain pools and huge red Hajjar mountains.
  • Nighttime campires in desert, where you drink “karak” tea.
  • Scuba diving at the Dubai Mall aquarium – get up close and personal with sharks.
  • Desert Safari – watch the sunrise on a desert safari with a Bedouin – Platinum Heritage.

City Attractions

goldvia: anig
  • Gold Souq – bargains on exquisitely crafted jewelry.
  • Galleries Night at Alserkal – galleries and art exhibitions filled with creative masterpieces.
  • Spice Souq – traditional spice market, try out the art of haggling with the sellers.
  • Al Fahidi district – step back in time in one of the oldest historical districts.
  • Dubai Mall Fountains – performs daily to music with water reaching up to 500 feet high.
  • Khan Murjan – 14th century souq in the heart of modern Dubai.

Foodie’s Paradise

via: timeoutdubai
  • Al Ijaza Café – Arabic café on beach road.
  • Majlis Café – camel milk cafe.
  • Omnia Gourmet – celebrity chef Silvena Rowe brings “farm to table” eating to Dubai.
  • Qbara – modern approach to Arabic cuisine.
  • Al Reef Bakery – popular Lebanese bakery.
  • Al Damyati – deemed one of the best Arabic food places in Dubai.



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